Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Beautiful

“Look at her,
she’s beautiful like a Gypsy,”
he told my mother,
right in front of me,
this twice-removed uncle of mine,
and my cheeks turned into red roses
at the compliment that I found then
outrageous
and now
outstanding.

It was at his older daughter’s wedding,
in a white July
a July of silver
and white peonies.
I had a blue dress,
a blue like a single tear
of some distant sea,
a blue like the sky
reflected into a single drop
of dew on a white petal.
I was twenty-three,
but I could’ve been eighteen
or sixteen,
just the same for me.

He no longer breathes
the air of this world,
this twice-removed uncle of mine,
but these particular words of his
still sing to me,
at the most unexpected moments,
always bringing
a whiff of summer with them,
of that summer when I was a young rose,
beautiful like a Gypsy.


“Beautiful like a Gypsy,” he had said
and I knew he meant the ideal Gypsy,
the free soul,
the one that dances flamencos in her
ruffled colourful skirts,
on the scapes of our hearts,
to the clicking of her castanets
and the tinkling of her gold,
not the one that begs on street corners,
or steals,
or kills.

I wonder if that beautiful Gypsy
exists anywhere other
than in the exotic notions
of romantic people
like Fleetwood Mac,
and Van Morrison,
and the likes.
But I know what he meant,
and I will always remember his words
because, for me,
she exists,
that beautiful Gypsy,
in that exquisite summer of long ago,
and in all the summers of my heart,
where I will always be,
twenty-three.

22 comments:

Geraldine said...

Oh this is so unique and so beautiful Vesper! I am going back for a re-read. Bravo!!!

www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

Catvibe said...

Gave me chills Vesper. You still radiate that wild gypsy you know. Even though I've never seen you, you radiate it.

Vesper said...

Geraldine, thank you so much! I'm very glad you liked it. :-)

Cat, what can I say? Yes, I feel it in me sometimes... Thank you, dear Cat. :-)

the walking man said...

"...a blue like a single tear
of some distant sea,
a blue like the sky
reflected into a single drop..."

First the critique. I think I would have dropped the twice used word "like" and substituted a comma in both places to generate a pause.

Beyond that minor thing I find there to be an honest quality that continues in your writing Vesper. It doesn't seem to matter whether it is a snippet of a longer work or a piece of poetry the reader is always able to see and identify with the subject of the verse or prose.

As a member of that audience it is the simple well thought out verbiage that continues to draw me back.

While some poets I know, myself included, will attempt to dance with a metaphor spinning words to say yes and mean no, your style of the forward direct school is refreshing to this tired old man.

Again if this is almost poetry, please teach me to be an almost poet.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

A beautiful recalling of your moment in time.

Marilyn Brant said...

Like the Walking Man, I marvel that you continue to call your work "almost" poetry, Vesper. Your poems are THERE, not nearly so... As for the images and feelings you evoked, thanks for capturing a moment of youth's unconscious and fleeting beauty :).

SzélsőFa said...

What a lively memory, the words seem to dance and thrill ...

L.A. Mitchell said...

Though I didn't know you at twenty-three, I can picture you completely through this poem. Your twice removed uncle probably never gave his words a second thought, but how powerful they were for you.

Words are powerful, indeed.

Beautiful, V, as always :)

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

What vivid, evocative and beautiful words, Vesper!

There are some little somethings for you over at my place :-) xxx

Word veri - duckbill ?!!!

Vesper said...

Mark, first, thank you for the critique. :-) It’s very much appreciated. The “like” normally should’ve bothered me too – and I think it did somewhere at the periphery of my thoughts – but I admit I didn’t polish this too much, it’s rather raw, as it came to me in a single rush. Secondly, I thank you for your words of appreciation. I call this “almost poetry” because I cannot compare it with the work of those who, as you say, “dance with metaphors”… But this is what comes to me, this is what sings in my head, and since it has a melody, and a rhythm, and it’s not prose, I call it “almost poetry”… If it can touch others’ souls, even in the littlest of ways, then it’s a splendid joy for me. :-)

Thank you, Bernard. :-)

And I thank you, Marilyn, for your kind words of encouragement. I’m glad you liked this and I thank you for it. :-)

SzélsöFa, thank you so much! :-)

L.A., you’re right, I’m sure he never gave his words a second thought, but, yeah, how they stayed with me, it’s unbelievable… after so many years… Thank you, my dear L.A.! :-)

Vanilla, it pleases me so much that you liked this. Thank you!
A platypus? Hmmm… :-)
Thank you for the “little somethings”! You put a big smile on my face this morning.:-)

Catvibe said...

Vesper, please go to my site and pick up your Fabulous Blog award. ;-)

laughingwolf said...

while i love your poem, v, i ask you to check out the roma people [gypsies]and the hard times and persecutions they've endured over the centuries, like so many other peoples :(

i did not know about it til i heard their horror stories on cbc radio documentaries...

Akasha Savage said...

That was truly beautiful vesper. I read it through twice. :)

Vesper said...

Thank you so much, Cat! :-)

LW, thank you. I know they have been persecuted over the centuries like many other people, but at the same time you must experience them in everyday life to know how they are. Believe me, I know from first-hand experience and from my family and close friends. I do not wish you such an experience...

Akasha, thank you. I'm glad you liked it. :-)

Karen said...

Vesper - the thrill of the words that stayed in the heart of the a twenty-three year old have translated here into a beautiful memory.

On second reading I noticed all of the color in this poem -- red roses, white July, silver and white peonies, blue dress, white petal, young rose, colourful skirts, tinkling of her gold...and the motion of the poem that spins and dances until she is caught in a memory, forever twenty-three.

I understand what you mean by "almost poetry", but this is the REAL thing! I love it.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Vesper - this poem dances and twirls, spinning into a hundred colors before me. You poured your soul into this - and sparks fly, like a gypsy's campfire in the breeze. No, you will not ever be twenty-three again...but, you will always be that beautiful gypsy with roses in your cheeks - that free soul, clicking her castanets! Fabulous, fabulous!

Sarah Hina said...

K. said it so well, that I just found myself nodding along. Inspired, Vesper.

Words can connect the past to present. Remind us of who we were, and maybe, who we still are (and want to be). Music, too. You embody that gypsy spirit in the rhythm of your poetry and the plaintive song in your heart.

Esmeralda, for all time. :)

shadowsinthemoonlight said...

Hi Vesper,
Hopped here from Kaye's blog and I'm blown away by your writing. What a delicious compliment from your uncle who recognized beauty in you: independence and more. Such vivid and dancing memory words! Unusual and effective form. I'm bookmarking you (and thinking I need to visit all of Kaye's blogroll.)

BTW, my blog Title "Emerald Eyes" is a Fleetwood Mac song.

*gel*

Miladysa said...

This has to be one of the best poems I have read for a while! Absolutely wonderful!

I had such an Uncle x

jason evans said...

I know she still breathes the rare air. As Stevie says, she "still remains."

Vesper said...

Karen, thank you much for your kind words. This is even more appreciated (if possible) coming from such a poet like you. :-)

Kaye, thank you, thank you! I’m so pleased that you liked this. Your words dance for me… :-)

Sarah, al of the above. :-) :-) :-) Yes, Esmeralda. I had forgotten about her… Thank you, dear Sarah!

Gel, hello and welcome to my blog. I’m very glad that you found here something that you liked. Thank you for your very kind words. I’m looking forward to visiting your blog. :-)

Miladysa, wow! I’m speechless… Thank you, is only a little thing that I could say. :-)

Jason, yes she “still remains”… :-)

laughingwolf said...

rats, i know i replied; words to the effect: i stand corrected...

thx v :D